Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
eel

Ship excursion from Airlie Beach to GBR - worth doing?

Recommended Posts

We will be visiting Airlie Beach in March while sailing on Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas. We are trying to decide if we should do the Great Barrier Reef ship excursion from there. The alternative is a snorkeling tour of the Whitsundays. The GBR tour costs about 2X the Whitsunday tour.

 

A little background here. DW and I are avid snorkelers. We will be visiting Cairns post-cruise and have arranged a 3-day, 2-night liveaboard trip to the GBR from there. So we will be visiting the GBR regardless. However, this tour gives us an opportunity to see a different part of the reef and also gives us a back-up plan to see the reef in case some problem arises (bad weather for example) while we are in Cairns. Of course snorkeling around the Whitsundays should be very nice too.

 

We usually don't do ship excursions because they are typically very crowded and expensive. The Whitsunday tour would be a private excursion. For the GBR out of Airlie Beach the ship's excursion is pretty much the only safe way to go.

 

Does anyone have experience with this tour through Royal Caribbean? Under the circumstances would you recommend it? I suspect that other cruise lines run pretty much the same tour. Any thoughts or suggestions are much appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We will be visiting Airlie Beach in March while sailing on Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas. We are trying to decide if we should do the Great Barrier Reef ship excursion from there. The alternative is a snorkeling tour of the Whitsundays. The GBR tour costs about 2X the Whitsunday tour.

 

A little background here. DW and I are avid snorkelers. We will be visiting Cairns post-cruise and have arranged a 3-day, 2-night liveaboard trip to the GBR from there. So we will be visiting the GBR regardless. However, this tour gives us an opportunity to see a different part of the reef and also gives us a back-up plan to see the reef in case some problem arises (bad weather for example) while we are in Cairns. Of course snorkeling around the Whitsundays should be very nice too.

 

We usually don't do ship excursions because they are typically very crowded and expensive. The Whitsunday tour would be a private excursion. For the GBR out of Airlie Beach the ship's excursion is pretty much the only safe way to go.

 

Does anyone have experience with this tour through Royal Caribbean? Under the circumstances would you recommend it? I suspect that other cruise lines run pretty much the same tour. Any thoughts or suggestions are much appreciated!

I would do the Whitsunday tour you have 2 days on the reef from Cairns cant get much better than that

We did the GBR tour last march from Airlie beach on the Rhapsody which was good but a bit rushed (only 2 hours at the reef) so I think it may be a bit of a let down after your 2 day trip

We will be back at Airlie beach early march and we are looking at a Whitsunday reef air/snorkel tour which is about a 4 hour trip so allows plenty time to get back to the ship

Which ever you do enjoy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My advise would be to do the Whitsunday tour if you are also going to Cairns. I have no experience re cruise ship passengers/tours or where you dock but have done land based holidays of both areas and visited the reef. The outer reef from Airlie Beach is a good 2 hour boat ride each way (seas can be choppy once you leave the islands behind). the Whitsunday snorkelling will be on fringing reef around the islands - not sure if they offer whitehaven beach on Whitsunday (a virtually uninhabited beach (excepting day trippers etc) a white silicon sand beach. Airlie is very pedestrian friendly if you are docked there as opposed to Shute Harbour. the reef at Cairns is a lot closer to shore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We will be visiting Airlie Beach in March while sailing on Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas. We are trying to decide if we should do the Great Barrier Reef ship excursion from there. The alternative is a snorkeling tour of the Whitsundays. The GBR tour costs about 2X the Whitsunday tour.

 

A little background here. DW and I are avid snorkelers. We will be visiting Cairns post-cruise and have arranged a 3-day, 2-night liveaboard trip to the GBR from there. So we will be visiting the GBR regardless. However, this tour gives us an opportunity to see a different part of the reef and also gives us a back-up plan to see the reef in case some problem arises (bad weather for example) while we are in Cairns. Of course snorkeling around the Whitsundays should be very nice too.

 

We usually don't do ship excursions because they are typically very crowded and expensive. The Whitsunday tour would be a private excursion. For the GBR out of Airlie Beach the ship's excursion is pretty much the only safe way to go.

 

Does anyone have experience with this tour through Royal Caribbean? Under the circumstances would you recommend it? I suspect that other cruise lines run pretty much the same tour. Any thoughts or suggestions are much appreciated!

We were on Celebrity Millenium in November. At Airlie beach we did ecorafting tour with the same company Celebrity uses but I chartered the boat they use and got 22 people to join us, the price was much cheaper than Celebrity and the tour was all day instead of 4 hours, highly recommend and we loved Whitehaven beach..a must do that the ships tour does not do.

At Cairns we did the ships tour to GBR which was good, thought we were going with Quicksilver but they used a different company. Was a bit chaotic when we first reached the platform, everyone trying to get kitted out and in the water butglad we went. The second day in Cairns we did Kurunda railway and the skyride which we enjoyed too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Consider both We booked two excursions from two different ports and cancelled one. We were concerned about weather since this was a once in a lifetime experience for us. Can't speak at WhitSunday, we did GBR - Opal Reef Absolutely fantastic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've lived in airlie beach for many years and cairns so I have done my fair share of the different trips. This is my opinions.

 

• the more expensive outer Great Barrier Reef tour goes to private pontoon owned by the charter company and although it is yes 2 hours boat ride the coral is more untouched than cairns and normal offshore places for snorkeling. The main company doing this is called cruise Whitsunday (not sure I'm allowed to mention names)

• 2 day tours are good to get a look around not sure what islands you are referring to?

 

•airlie has a man made lagoon as no reef or decent beach on mainland. They do have crocodile tours, wildlife parks, waterfalls tours to cedar creek falls.

• snorkelling can be done off hook island, south mole and lindamen

•Hamilton island is more of a resort, I've never snorkelled here but love the little church on top of hill with beautiful views (many international weddings here). People generally walk around or hire a golf buggy for the day to see scenery.

•Whitehaven beach has the purest whitest sand in the world and is unihabited so it's more for people who love to have beach days.

Have a look at tourism Whitsunday website they also will have different excursions and boats that go different places as well, I personally liked going on a boat called reef jet not sure if they are still running.

•cairns better attractions kuranda scenic railway, Tully white water rafting and different rainforest tours. Leave the reef to airlie beach as I found it was less colourful in cairns and too much damage with many operators visiting same locations. Green island is an expensive waste of time on all counts.

 

Feel free to ask questions.

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are going to the GBR next February. Would you suggest staying at Port Douglas or Airlie Beach? We have more or less decided on Port Douglas. We thought it would be easier to get to from Sydney. We are planning on 4 days in Port Douglas before our cruise on the Marina. Any comments on the Mandalay Beach Apartments?

Thank you.

 

Carol High

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Airlie beach is more of a party town whereas port Douglas is more resorty and relaxed. I think I've stayed at the place your staying ages ago it should be nice.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sounds like we are on the same cruise. What is are good websites to find local tour operators vs expensive cruise excursions. We are 5 adults so planning to do our own cheaper trips.

 

Many thanks in advance!

 

I don't know about Airlie Beach or the Whitsundays but this page has loads of options for cruisers in Cairns http://www.visitcairns.com.au/store/products.aspx?metacategoryid=effaa7ba-b55c-41d4-b463-e673ebae1f62

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have a look at Whitsunday tourist information center website and get some ideas of what's available and send them an email or call them. They are very experienced and extremely helpful they'll be able to organise anything.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Curious, what did you end up doing and therefore what do you recommend? I'm in the same boat and trying to figure out what to do as the cruise excursion is twice the cost. But the logistics to meet the Whitehaven tour company at port airlie doesn't seem to work especially with the fact we'll have to tender.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We wound up doing a private sailboat tour to an island in the Whitsundays from Airlie Beach. It turned out that someone that was part of the group that booked the tour became ill and had to back out . We cancelled our planned ship excursion and we were able to join the tour.

 

We talked to some people that did the GBR and they enjoyed it but it seemed like a tough ride to get there.

 

We really enjoyed our 3 day 2 night live aboard snorkeling tour from Cairns. We turned out to be the only snorkelers and probably the oldest on board by 15 years! But they treated us well and the snorkeling was great. Highly recommend ProDive Cairns for a snorkel or dive tour of the reef.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We wound up doing a private sailboat tour to an island in the Whitsundays from Airlie Beach. It turned out that someone that was part of the group that booked the tour became ill and had to back out . We cancelled our planned ship excursion and we were able to join the tour.

 

We talked to some people that did the GBR and they enjoyed it but it seemed like a tough ride to get there.

 

We really enjoyed our 3 day 2 night live aboard snorkeling tour from Cairns. We turned out to be the only snorkelers and probably the oldest on board by 15 years! But they treated us well and the snorkeling was great. Highly recommend ProDive Cairns for a snorkel or dive tour of the reef.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

Thanks for the feedback.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've lived in airlie beach for many years and cairns so I have done my fair share of the different trips. This is my opinions.

 

• the more expensive outer Great Barrier Reef tour goes to private pontoon owned by the charter company and although it is yes 2 hours boat ride the coral is more untouched than cairns and normal offshore places for snorkeling. The main company doing this is called cruise Whitsunday (not sure I'm allowed to mention names)

• 2 day tours are good to get a look around not sure what islands you are referring to?

 

•airlie has a man made lagoon as no reef or decent beach on mainland. They do have crocodile tours, wildlife parks, waterfalls tours to cedar creek falls.

• snorkelling can be done off hook island, south mole and lindamen

•Hamilton island is more of a resort, I've never snorkelled here but love the little church on top of hill with beautiful views (many international weddings here). People generally walk around or hire a golf buggy for the day to see scenery.

•Whitehaven beach has the purest whitest sand in the world and is unihabited so it's more for people who love to have beach days.

Have a look at tourism Whitsunday website they also will have different excursions and boats that go different places as well, I personally liked going on a boat called reef jet not sure if they are still running.

•cairns better attractions kuranda scenic railway, Tully white water rafting and different rainforest tours. Leave the reef to airlie beach as I found it was less colourful in cairns and too much damage with many operators visiting same locations. Green island is an expensive waste of time on all counts.

 

Feel free to ask questions.

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Is going to Hastings Reef on the jet boat through visitcairns.com.AU a good trip off a cruise ??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A with the Coral Expeditions Team
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...